A Study in Church growth

Timeline History of one of the largest Churches in Ghana:

1991 - Ministry started as "Abundant Life Missions International"

1992 - Home Bible Study organized by a Mother in her home: 12 adults and 12 Children: grew to 30 that year

1993 - Outgrew the home and moved to a nursery school, changed name to "Bible Worship Centre" and grew to 150 that year

1994 - Moved to a Bank Meetings room - canteen, changed name to International Bible Worship Centre, and grew to 250 by 1995

1995 - Started year in a Warehouse, transformed into beautiful worship center, and grew to 5,000 by AD 2,000

2000 - Moved name its own property and named it "The Palace"

2008 - Attendance had grown to 30,000 and Minister had become the "Billy Graham" of Ghana

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THE STORY:

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A great new church was founded by a young lady named Rita, in Ghana in November 1992, starting Sunday services with members of Showers of Blessings who were then available.

The meetings began at the GES Model Nursery School in Accra at North Ridge with 12 adults and 12 children attending the first Sunday service.

The name under which they operated from March 1991 was Abundant Life Missions International. But in July 1993, the name of the church was changed to Bible Worship Centre to reflect the new vision and focus with which her husband was going to operate.

To give the church a global focus, the name was modified in August 1994 to International Bible Worship Centre (IBWC).

However in March 1999, there was another development when the IBWC Governing Council had its annual meeting. An umbrella name which would embrace the multifaceted aspect of the ministry was deemed appropriate. Upon much deliberation and prayer, a new name was approved and from March 1999 to date, it has been the operational name of the ministry.

The new young minister returned from Holland in November 1992, he assumed full leadership of the church in January 1993. That year, the number of worshippers increased significantly from 30 to 150 adults.

Thus, in 1994, it became necessary to relocate the church to the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) canteen which had a larger facility. The strategic location of the canteen on the Ring Road also helped the growth of the church.

When the influx of members made it impossible for the ADB canteen to be used for Sunday services, the church was moved to the Blackmoore and Sons warehouse on the same Ring Road. The warehouse was transformed into a beautiful worship center and from October 1994 to November AD-2000 that place was to be the IBWC auditorium where many healings, miracles, and deliverances would occur.

During this 5 year period, the church grew from a membership of 250 to nearly 5,000 worshippers. To effectively accommodate the large number of worshippers, three fully packed services were held every Sunday at 7:00 am, 9:00 am and 11:00 am respectively.

The sermon was translated into the Twi and Ewe local languages in the first two services respectively.

The third service was held in English only. Those who could not be seated inside the main hall participated in the services via closed-circuit TV outside where canopies had been mounted.

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A historic move was made on November 4, 2000. Thousands of worshippers attended an 'All Night' prayer vigil at the Blackmoore and Sons premises. Around 4am, they were led in a 'prayer march' to Ahenfie, the newly acquired church property located near the Obetsebi Lamptey Circle on the Ring Road Central-a distance of about three (3) kilometres from the Blackmoore and Sons premises.

Symbolically, it was a significant move, a crossing over from 'Egypt' to the 'Promised Land'. This is because three (3) years before this time (i.e. in 1997), Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams had prophesied that God was going to bless the new Church with a property of its own.

Interestingly enough, the revelation had indicated that the new property was going to be located specifically on the Ring Road. At the time this prophecy was given, the church leadership was, unknown to the Archbishop, almost completing negotiations for the purchase of a property at a totally different location.

Contrary to the general perception of the public, the Palace, is not synonymous with the umbrella name, of the Chapel Ministry which encompasses the church's headquarters (the Palace) with its 26 different Ministries (Groups) as well as all the other distinct organs incorporated under the umbrella name.

These organs include the Chapel's 30 Local Assemblies (branches), its 8 International Missions and their various departments, the media ministries, the church administration, the Christian Leadership College, as well as the Department of Social Services etc.

The Department of Social Services alone has a wide range of ministries including the Basic Trust Scholarship Project, Feed the Hungry, Rural Missions and Evangelism, Rescue to the Needy, Pre-Marital and Marriage Counselling Departments, the Children, Teens, Men's, Women's and Aged Ministries; as well as the Anglo/Francophone Ministry etc.

Theologically, the Palace was derived from Revelation 1:5b-6. The Scripture says of Jesus Christ 'Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him [be] glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.'

The expression 'kings and priests' is a reference to all believers. In other words, all believers are royals. Since royals reside in a palace or a royal house, Palace was adopted as the name of the worship place of the Chapel headquarters church.

Since Palace is also synonymous with the 'residence' or 'dwelling place' of Kings, worshippers in the Chapel believe that the reason why the presence of God is so strong at the Palace is because it is God’s headquarters. In view of the fact that God is the King of Kings, the Palace is seen as His dwelling place and the place where His power and presence must constantly be experienced by worshippers.

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Research Information provided by Chapel Website,

This research article does not endorse any part or practice of this ministry, but is strictly for research and consideration

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